Ever since California TV station KTVU erroneously aired the fake names of four pilots falsely purported to be those of Asiana Flight 214, the story has gone viral and left many wondering how the station could have possibly missed that the names were fake.

Some blogs and news outlets have reported that the NTSB was the source of the false names.  This is not exactly the case.  As KTVU explained in its apology for the error, it contacted the NTSB with the list of names, asking NTSB to verify the names and their spelling.

“On Friday, July 12, during the KTVU Channel 2 Noon newscast, we misidentified the pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash.

We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.

Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency.

We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast.”

A cursory search of online postings however turns up at least a couple of forums (there are likely others) where those fake names were posted prior to 7/12, the date that KTVU read those names on-air.  It’s not known whether or not the TV station ever saw the names posted online anywhere, but the point is, it’s clear from the forum comments that the names were posted as a joke and that others immediately saw it as a joke.

One posting at the FAL Files forum dated 7/10 contains the same fake names.  It ends with “LOL,” indicating that it’s clearly a joke (for those who couldn’t tell from the names).  In viewing the full thread, others were discussing details of the crash in general.

pilot-name-posting1

Someone in a Jeep JK Owners forum also posted three out of the four fake names on 7/10.  It’s followed by other comments, like “LMAO,” that clearly indicate it’s recognized as a joke.

Days later, upon realizing that the station had actually read the same names on-air, a commenter in the Jeep owners forum posted the video of the broadcast on 7/12, the day the report aired, accompanied by the comment:

Well you were close. A news station got pranked and read these names out today on a live broadcast.

Another commenter quipped:

News channel: we need to check our sources, where did that come from.

Researcher: I got that from JkOwners.com a reputable source for all things Jeep and Asiana flights.

KTVU has not said how it obtained the names, only in its apology that it had “received this information.”

Regardless of where or how KTVU got the names, the comments online at least as of 7/10 made it quite obvious that even forum commenters recognized the names were not at all serious.

Instead, now the TV station, as well as the NTSB intern who confirmed the names, have faced the fallout of the mistake.

Legal Insurrection reached out to KTVU for a statement.  As of this writing, no response had been received.